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Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
Amazon ^ | November 2, 2010 | Matt Taibbi

Posted on 11/13/2010 9:20:29 PM PST by AZLiberty

I was intrigued by this recent seven-minute NPR interview with Matt Taibbi, the author of Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America. The Griftopia link to takes you to a Google preview of the book, which includes this (written before the most recent election):

Voters who throw their emotional weight into elections they know deep down inside won't produce real change in their lives are also indulging in a kind of fantasy. That's why voters still dream of politicians whose primary goal is to effectively govern and maintain a thriving first world society with great international ambitions. What voters don't realize, or don't want to realize, is that that dream was abandoned long ago by this country's leaders, who know the more prosaic reality and are looking beyond the fantasy, into the future, at an America plummeted into third world status.

These leaders are like the drug lords who ruled America's ghettos in the crack age, men (and some women) interested in just two things: staying in power, and hoovering up enough of what's left of the cash on their blocks to drive around in an Escalade or a 633i for however long they have left. Our leaders know we're turning into a giant ghetto and they are taking every last hubcap they can get their hands on before the rest of us wake up and realize what's happened.

The engine for looting the old ghetto neighborhoods was the drug trade, which served two purposes with brutal efficiency. Narco-business was the mechanism for concentrating all the money on the block into that Escalade-hungry dealer's hands, while narco-chemistry was the mechanism for keeping the people on his block too weak and hopeless to do anything about it. The more dope you push into the neighborhood, the more weak, strung-out, and dominated the people who live there will be.

In the new America ghetto, the nightmare engine is bubble economics, a kind of high-tech casino scam that kills neighborhoods just like dope does, only the product is credit, not crack or heroin. It concentrates the money of the population in just a few hands with brutal efficiency, just like narco-business, and just as in narco-business the product itself, debt, steadily demoralizes the customer to the point where he's unable to prevent himself from being continually dominated.

What The American Spectator recently called "America's Ruling Class" is called by Taibbi the "Grifter Class":

There are really two Americas, one for the grifter class, and one for everybody else. In everybody-else land, the world of small businesses and wage-earning employees, the government is something to be avoided, an overwhelming, all-powerful entity whose attentions usually presage some kind of financial setback, if not complete ruin. In the grifter world, however, government is a slavish lapdog that the financial companies that will be the major players in this book use as a tool for making money.
In the lexicon of another author, William L. Livingston, this is an "ain't it awful" exposé. Taibbi tells woeful stories about a variety of specific institutions, notably the U.S. Federal Government and supervillain Goldman Sachs (who might as well own the U.S. Federal Government), but he offers no solutions.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Society
KEYWORDS: goldmansachs; healthcarereform
Although Taibbi is unkind to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party and doubts that either will have an impact on the backroom dealings that really control America, he dishes it out to the other side, describing Obamacare as "a coldly cynical political deal: massive giveaways to Big Pharma in the form of monster subsidies, and an equally lucrative handout to big insurance in the form of an individual mandate granting a few already-wealthy companies 25-30 million new customers who would be forced to buy their products at artificially inflated, federally protected prices." If you can find this book at your local library, check it out.
1 posted on 11/13/2010 9:20:33 PM PST by AZLiberty
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To: AZLiberty

IMHO the Tea Party is “on to” the game over a year ago and will not stand for business as usual. COngress has this last chance to honor the Constitution and if they blow it We may have to invoke the 2nd Amendment. We can pull our butts out of the fire but we are out of time and we can not make any mistakes.

2 posted on 11/14/2010 2:25:42 AM PST by wastoute (Government cannot redistribute wealth. Government can only redistribute poverty.)
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To: AZLiberty

What I like about Matt Taibi is that he is NOT obviously beholden to any Party except for what most people would claim are common sense ethics.

I consider myself conservative especially in the fiscal sense but I don’t trust either Party. They will take care of whatever group or interest that will keep them in power and while they spend the rest of the time trying to convince we the people that they actually looking out for the country.

Democrats are tight with the bankers and Republicans tight with big business (but not necessarily small business) and both love illegal cheap labor. That leaves us with only the occasional morsels (not talking handouts) that will improve America as a nation.

Medicare Part D was the same thing as Obama care and a monsterous deal for big pharma and for Billy Tauzin R Congressman turned multi-million dollar lobbyist.

A big problem is that Congress totally polices itself when they need an outside non-political body of citizens (grand jury) to recommend Justice Dept prosecution.

I’ll have to read that book.

3 posted on 11/14/2010 9:44:00 AM PST by apoliticalone
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